Conor van der Reest had been keen to work in Tasmania.

It’s back! We’re all so excited to see the return of Tasting Australia, tell us, what’s in store for the 2022 event?

Well, after a hugely successful 2021 festival, we are expanding the beverage program and doing plenty this year with shiraz and riesling, as well as bubbles and plenty more. So whatever your taste, we’ve got you covered.

What’s been your focus as Drinks Curator for the 2022 event? 

There are so many great beverage-makers and experiences in South Australia and my main goal is to introduce as many people to the makers as possible. Our festival audience is really diverse and I try to make sure there’s something for everyone in the program. Our younger audience is really up for discovery so there’s plenty at the forefront for them to explore this year, we like to push some boundaries and get people thinking as well as drinking. I try bring the best of the best in each event or encounter and we are lucky to have such a loyal following of informed and enthusiastic people who know exactly what they like. 

South Australia is no doubt a hub for exceptional food and wine. What are some of your favourite SA names that you are excited about showcasing as part of this year’s festival? 

The drink-makers in SA are such an impressive group, and this year we have some of the most dedicated and talented gracing our glasses at Tasting Australia. The Riesling All-Stars tasting features John Hughes (RieslingFreak) whose riesling-only wine brand is breaking new ground for success around this great white wine. We have plenty of great shiraz and we will show the classics as well as the new and the next in a big South Australian shiraz tasting. 

This is some text inside of a div block.

You’re bringing back the popular Tasting Table event and launching the Behind the Bar series as part of it. Tell us about that.

The Tasting Table series is a chance to open bottles that are really rare so we limit these to only a dozen or so guests. This means if we can find just one great bottle of something, we can open and share it at the festival. You also get to meet the drinks talent in a much more personable setting, which is part of the DNA of Tasting Australia.

Can we expect anything new for the 2022 event? 

With the number of great spirits growing exponentially every year, we have introduced a new bar series called Behind The Bar. This is all about great small bars in Adelaide like Maybe Mae and Hains & Co and it gives guests a chance to have a private drinks making experience with great bartenders. Again, this is what we do at Tasting Australia, we get people really involved in things.

Moving off the topic of wine for a moment, what can fans of spirits and beer look forward to this year? 

One of the absolute highlights this year is welcoming George Campbell to the festival and to Australia. Campbell is Group Distiller for Mighty Craft, which is a huge accolade for them. Campbell has just arrived from Scotland where he leads the production team at William Grant & Sons flagship distillery Glenfiddich. He’ll be hosting some whisky masterclasses for us – not hard to see why I am excited about this one. 

The team from Pirate Life are on the beer taps again this year and they always show up with such a great range; in fact they usually surprise us with special batches and new beers, so watch out for them. They’ll also present a couple of masterclasses.

And we will feature great non-alcoholic options too, leaning into a space that is really developing with such impressive quality in so many styles, so watch for those, too.

This is some text inside of a div block.

Tough to choose I’m sure, but what’s your not to be missed event of the 2022 program?

Tim Kirk from Clonakilla is coming to the festival and we are so happy to welcome such a luminary of shiraz to South Australia, the traditional home of the grape for so long. He’ll be presenting a masterclass, 50 Years of Clonakilla, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste the history of Clonakilla with the man himself. He’ll also be presenting some superstar wines in the Northern Rhône Showcase masterclass.

Tell us about some of the other key events focusing on Australian wine and produce.

One of the most exciting tastings is the Provenance & Place: South Australia’s Greatest Single Vineyards tasting. Imagine taking a tour de force of South Australia’s best and most significant vineyards from the comfort of your very own masterclass chair. Seriously though, these are the greatest wines we make in South Australia, and we’ll compare and explore a dozen of them in this tasting. I cannot wait.

To see the full Tasting Australia program, visit tastingaustralia.com.au/program

This is some text inside of a div block.